Online ACLS Works for Experienced Nurses Needing to Recertify
Back in February, I lamented here the fact that in order to continue my cruise job, I would have to recertify my BLS and ACLS. I thought that was over with when I retired from hospital nursing.
My main source of annoyance was that I was going to have to pay for the classes out of my own pocket for the first time ever. This did not make me happy. I also wasn't looking forward to trying to locate a class locally and in the time frame that I would need. I began the searching process where I begin everything...on the internet. It was there that I discovered online recertification classes. What, I wondered, would I get for my money? Would my employer accept it? Should I consider it? After all, we can get a BSN or a MSN online...why not recertify ACLS online?
I got several responses to that Blog primarily from ACLS instructors who didn't feel like it could be a complete or effective learning experience without the hands-on practicum part. However, I also heard from the director of The ACLS Certification Institute who made a generous offer allowing me to take their online classes in return for an honest critique here on my Blog. No fool I, I made the deal.
The site is very user friendly and has a FAQ section that covers a great deal. There is no pressure, no time limit, and a great deal of study material available. The site follows all the latest 2010 protocols, (I was comparing with my last AHA ACLS study manual as I went along) you have a 60-day risk free window, AND you can print your own card and certificate as soon as you pass. I reviewed all the material as presented, followed the site's outline, and took the exam. It took several hours to do everything in order, and I thought the test was hard! I usually breezed through my AHA tests, but I really needed my thinking cap on for this one. It felt like there were more questions on this test too. But I'm not really sure about that.
And what about the practical part? Frankly, I didn't miss it. And also being frank I don't think I needed it, at least this time. Please understand, I've been taking these classes for a very long time now, and I remain proficient at reading EKG rhythms,and my techniques for airway adjuncts, IVs, and compressions haven't changed in 20+ years.
So, what do I think? I think that if you are an experienced RN with multiple ACLS classes behind you, you'll be just fine with this online course, IF your employer will accept it. I think that it is a good alternative to the full classes that include practicum. Now, if I were still working full time and could, I would probably do the online recertification every other time.
I do not think, however, that novices should rely solely on the online course, unless it is used for additional practice and information. Novices need that hands-on experience. Besides, the classes are fun, and the support from classmates and co-workers is always a helpful bonus. Again, though, if you snooze through the drug and treatment modality classes, and keep thinking about the grocery list while you're waiting your turn for Mega Code, then this site is for you.
I'd like to offer many thanks to the ACLS Certification Institute for this very positive experience. I'll get to the PALS recertification in August!